Belfast Telegraph

Nationalist Lord Mayor pays his own respects

By Noel McAdam

BELFASTÕS nationalist Lord Mayor Alban Maginness is to wear a poppy for the first time at a remembrance service tomorrow.

Mr Maginness is flying back to Northern Ireland today from America to take part in the service at City Hall.

Mr Maginness is flying back to Northern Ireland today from America to take part in the service at City Hall.

He will be the first nationalist Lord Mayor to lay a commemorative wreath on behalf of the city council.

Speaking from San Francisco, he said: ÒI will be wearing a poppy. I wouldnÕt normally wear one, but it is not something I find particularly difficult.

ÒI donÕt think I will come in for criticism by doing so, If I did, it would be very petty.

ÒThe poppy is something which is sacred to many people. It has a huge symbolic significance. I respect the unionist tradition, I always have done.

ÒEqually, I will be representing many from the nationalist tradition who also died in the World Wars, which in many respects is often forgotten.ÓThe SDLP councillor attended the remembrance service last year, but has not been a regular attender in the past.

He added: ÒWhen I was elected I promised to represent all sections of the city and both political traditions.

ÒI therefore have no problem with attending the ceremony and meeting the VIPs who will be there.

ÒBoth traditions in Belfast and Ireland as a whole have people who died, particularly in the First World War. I will be attending to represent all those in the city who wish to honour the dead.Ó

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